High speed broadband and energy top infrastructure priorities for Australians

Ipsos publishes new research which finds high speed broadband and energy-generating infrastructure to be growing priorities for Australians.

High speed broadband and energy top infrastructure priorities for Australians

  • High speed broadband moves to become the top priority for Australians in 2017 moving from fourth to the top spot from a list of ten. Energy-generating infrastructure moves from fifth to second place. Other top priorities include road networks and rail infrastructure
  • High speed broadband is given a higher priority in Australia compared with the global and APAC averages
  • Satisfaction with the experience of using a car/van as a driver as a form of transport is lower than the global average yet use is higher
  • There is a sense that, as a country, we are not doing enough to meet our infrastructure needs and that investing in infrastructure continues to be vital to Australia’s future growth

The second global infrastructure study across 28 countries including Australia was undertaken last month, and found 46% of Australians choosing high speed broadband and 44% choosing energy-generating infrastructure from a list of infrastructure types as priorities for investment, ahead of motorway/major road network (43%) and local road network (41%). These sentiments were reflected when Australians were asked to rate the current quality of this list with three in five (61%) rating Australia’s high speed broadband, and around half (49%) rating the energy-generation infrastructure as poor (fairly/very).

Only one-in-three (35%) Australians were found to be satisfied (very/fairly) with infrastructure in general at a national level while 58% of Australians agree (strongly/tend to) that we are not doing enough as a country to meet our infrastructure needs. Almost three quarters (71%) hold the view that investment in infrastructure is vital to future economic growth. All three of these findings are little changed since 2016.

From a list of ten types of infrastructure, higher priority is given in Australia when compared with the global average for: high speed broadband (46% vs 29%), energy-generating infrastructure (44% vs 40%), motorway/major road network (43% vs 37%), the local road network (41% vs 40%), rail infrastructure (40% vs 36%) and nuclear infrastructure to generate energy (17% vs 16%). The higher priority given to investing in road networks compared to other countries is reflected in satisfaction levels for Australian motorway and other road users falling below the global average (car/van as a driver (motorway), NET satisfied 59% vs 63%, car/van as a driver (other roads), NET satisfied 58% vs 60%).

When compared with the global average, Australians are less likely to agree (strongly/tend to) that their local area gets its fair share of Australia’s investment in infrastructure when compared with the global average (28% vs 31%). The survey also finds more of the public of the view that their area does not get its fair share of Australia’s investment in infrastructure than do in every state except NSW/ACT, the biggest discrepancy seen in SA/NT (15% agree vs 42% disagree).

My local area gets its fair share of Australia’s investment in infrastructure
%
agree
%
disagree
VIC/TAS (258)
25
31
NSW/ACT (363)
32
29
QLD (196)
31
35
SA/NT (90)
15
42
WA (94)
24
28

 

Asked which of six factors are most important in shaping plans for infrastructure in the future, Australians – like people across the world – are more likely to prioritise quality and environment than other factors, but not by large margins. They are relatively less likely to say that disruption is the most important factor.

Potential factors in shaping plans for infrastructure in the future
% ranking as most important
Global
Australia
APAC
Disruption: the amount of disruption we have to deal with (e.g. roadworks, disruptions to water supply) while infrastructure is built or improved
10
8
7
Legacy: the infrastructure that we pass on to future generations
12
11
10
Resilience: how well our infrastructure stands up to challenges today and in the future (e.g. population increases and climate change)
13
15
13
Environment: the impact our infrastructure has on our environment
18
20
16
Investment: paying the costs of improving and building new infrastructure now, to avoid having to pay more later
14
12
11
Quality: making sure that infrastructure is as good as it can possibly be (e.g. in terms of speed or convenience of services)
18
23
16

 

Commenting on the findings, Jennifer Brook, Director Ipsos Public Affairs, said: “Our second Global Infrastructure Index – the public view on infrastructure – finds little changed at a national level over the past twelve months. Australians still think investment in infrastructure is vital to future economic growth and there remains a sense that we are not doing enough to meet needs. But it does show an uptick in the salience of high speed broadband and energy-generating infrastructure, most likely reflective of the media coverage of both these issues over the last six months”

Global views

Globally, a third (37%) are satisfied with infrastructure in their country but, regionally, this varies from 35% in LATAM countries to 43% in the APAC region, reaching a high of 65% in Saudi Arabia, four times the low of 15% in Italy.

Among the ten different types of infrastructure, flood defences and nuclear energy-generation receive the worst ratings, while airports are among the best rated.

The top global priority for investment is water supply and sewerage (a particular priority in LATAM), followed by flood defences, the local road network, and energy-generating infrastructure.

% Priority for investment
Global
North America
LATAM
Europe
APAC
Water supply and sewerage
44
44
63
31
40
Flood defences
41
35
59
35
36
The local road network
40
42
34
44
43
Energy-generation infrastructure (excluding nuclear)
40
40
44
37
38
The motorway/major road network
37
41
42
37
36
New housing supply
37
25
44
33
39
Rail infrastructure - track/stations
36
25
37
39
32
High Speed Broadband
29
24
31
28
27
Nuclear infrastructure to generate energy
16
20
17
11
18
Airports
16
17
21
10
16

Base sizes: Global (21,043), North America (2,003), LATAM (4,006), Europe (7,531), APAC (6,003)

In terms of attitudes, while the global average is 56% agreement that their country “is not doing enough to meet its infrastructure needs”, this varies from 80% in South Africa to just 23% in Japan.

Of ten modes of transport, people across the world are most likely to have made a journey by car (either as driver or passenger) in the past six months, but this is closely followed by bus services and coaches. A quarter have made a journey by bicycle.

There are substantial variations by country. For example, Australians are the most likely to have driven a car (77%) in the past six months, Russians to have used a bus/coach (also 77%), South Koreans an underground train (61%), and the Chinese to have made a journey by bike (47%). The British are most likely to have made a journey by overground train (49%).